Wyoming Department of Health officials are warning about a cluster of whooping cough cases being reported in Campbell County, with the disease also being seen in other parts of Wyoming.

So far in 2019, there have been five cases of the illness, which is also known as pertussis, in Campbell County. That compares with only one reported case of whooping cough in Campbell County last year and zero cases in 2017.

There have been 13 reported cases of pertussis across Wyoming so far this year, but health officials say the real number is probably higher because the disease is often not reported or is not recognized.

“Increased pertussis activity is something we watch closely because it can be so tough on infants,” said Clay Van Houten, infectious disease epidemiology unit manager with WDH. “Campbell County is of specific concern right now. We’ve seen several cases there recently and continue to investigate more suspected cases.”

The illness usually starts out with the symptoms of a cold, including a mild cough. It often is not recognized as whooping cough until a persistent cough with spasms sets in after a week or two. Infants and children may cough violently and rapidly, with a loud "whooping" sound. The disease is most dangerous for babies, for whom the illness can potentially be fatal.

The health department is urging people to make sure they are up to date on their whooping cough vaccinations. You can learn more about pertussis here.